A survey commissioned by Plant Based Health Professionals UK has found that 35% of UK residents would support a switch to a 100% plant-based menu at the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) hospitals. It also has shown that 51% of British consumers say there needs to be a change in the type of meals served in hospitals.

The survey covered 2000 people, of which 2% were vegan, 7% vegetarian, and 72% described themselves as omnivores. Some (32%) said they would be “somewhat” or “very” interested in trying a fully plant-based diet, but 35% said they were “very uninterested”.  

Disappointingly, 61% of the respondents said they would be annoyed if they could not eat meat during a hospital stay. More than a third (35%) say processed meats should be served to patients, while only 30% disagree, which shows a lack of awareness about the fact that processed meats have been classed as carcinogens by the World Health Organisation. 

Respondents were also asked what benefits they thought a meat-free NHS could have. 30% said it would be more planet-friendly and healthier, while 25% believed it could encourage healthy eating outside hospitals and would be more inclusive of cultures and beliefs. An additional 24% said they believed it could save the NHS money.

Plant Based Health Professionals UK said that the results highlighted the “urgent need for a comprehensive change in the NHS’s approach to hospital food and its role in patient care across the UK.”  Its founder, Shireen Kassam, also a consultant haematologist at King’s College Hospital London, said, “There is a lot of scepticism within the public healthcare industry, and they expect plant-based meals to be met with distaste… The survey results demonstrate that the general public would be positive about the switch to plant-based menus, with the majority stating that the NHS should support healthy eating.”

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Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.